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Here's what others are saying about THE LAZARUS FILE:

"THE LAZARUS FILE features a man of his word and a woman of convictions, compelling characters that readers will follow eagerly through a world of shifting loyalties and deadly intrigues."
                -----Colleen Thompson, author of Capture the Commando

"Like the best of Robert Ludlum...."
                -----Bev Vincent, Author of The Road to the Dark Tower

"Taylor is a natural story teller who displays the rare ability to convey emotion without resorting to profanity and to convey passion without specifying body parts. Set against Colombia's forbidding landscape and populated with memorable characters, the novel images a classic confrontation of good and evil."
               -----Carlos Ledson Miller, author of Panama and Belize

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Excerpt from: THE LAZARUS FILE: How Often Must an Undercover Agent Die in Order to Survive?
Copyright 2002 by Donn Taylor

CHAPTER ONE

Medellín, Colombia, October 1977

Mark Daniel had never been hijacked before, but the man pointing a pistol at his heart was rapidly filling that gap in his experience. Worse yet, Mark realized, getting hijacked would make him miss the crucial appointment he'd won after eighteen months of dangerous undercover work.

At noon he had landed his white twin-engine Cessna 402 at Medellín after an overnight flight to Grand Cayman Island. There, in his undercover identity as Carlos Ortiz, pilot for hire, he'd paid his usual visit to the Banque Internationale and met his Agency contact, Bob Reichert. Both visits proved disquieting, but the trip did bring two pleasures all too rare in his recent life --remaining within the law for an entire flight and spending a night in relatively safe surroundings.

Back at Medellín, he parked near the cramped air taxi office that fronted for his less reputable flights. Elena, the young receptionist who did what little office work he needed, had gone to lunch. While he waited for her, he refueled the Cessna and checked the new fuel line he'd installed in the left engine.

As he refastened the cowling, a man wearing a baggy brown suit came forward, smiling. Two other men remained in the background. The spokesman was a rugged-looking mestizo about Mark's own size--a bit more than six feet tall, with a weight around two hundred pounds. He sported a neatly trimmed mustache and perfect teeth. Though clearly in a hurry, he kept his manner pleasant.

"Buenas tardes, Señor," he began, then changed into English. "This airplane is for hire?"

"Usually," Mark replied, "but I have an appointment this afternoon. I won't know about the next few days till my receptionist comes back from lunch."

A look of distress replaced the man's smile. "But Señor, this flight must be made today."

"Then someone else will have to make it." Mark's voice sounded more harsh than he intended. "I'm sorry," he added, "but I can't break my appointment."

The man grew adamant. "But you must, Señor. The airplane at Hacienda Agueda has become sick and cannot be flown, and we must bring the passenger back before nightfall. It is not wise to stay there overnight, for guerrilla territory lies nearby. For this flight I will pay you two thousand American dollars."

Mark swallowed his irritation. "I'm sorry, but if I don't keep this appointment, I'll lose my best customer."

That customer was Paolo Guzmán, one of the three most powerful drug lords of Medellín. Today's appointment gave Mark a possible breakthrough toward accomplishing his mission, for Guzmán wanted him to meet someone he described only as "a very important Cuban." --No way Mark would sacrifice that opportunity just to rescue some fat hacendado from his own folly!

To end the conversation, he turned away and fastened the last clip on the Cessna's cowling.

He hoped to hear departing footsteps, but instead he heard a flat, determined voice. "I do not wish to seem impolite, Señor, but you may lose more than your best customer."

Mark looked into the muzzle of a century-old Colt .45 revolver. Despite the anachronistic weapon, the visitor did not act like an amateur. His eyes and gun hand held steady, and he stayed far enough away to discourage any attempt to disarm him.

The gunman's two henchmen had drawn late-model automatics and taken positions for a cross fire. Mark's anger boiled against the hijackers, but more against himself for being taken unawares. He had not readjusted from the safety of the Caymans to the violent environment of Colombia. They had caught him thinking like Mark Daniel instead of Carlos Ortiz.

"And if I don't make the flight?" he asked. If he could stall for a few minutes....

"Ah, Señor!" The visitor sighed and looked sad. "Before the Sabbath I must attend confession, and some patient Father must hear the tedious catalog of my sins. Why would you add your murder to that sordid list? You should be more considerate of the priesthood."

* * * * *

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